I've been here in Austin at the first Dad 2.0 for two days now, and so far my take-away is how good my husband and I have it. Both our fathers are alive and active in our lives and our daughter's life. My husband is a world-class father and an amazing example of how to bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan. He has friends who are dads and indeed capable of talking about parenting with him, if he really wants to (I suspect they talk more about work and sports, but these guys are well-rounded awesome men married to powerful, well-rounded women). I don't know how Beloved feels about his support network, but I feel really good about it. My vision of modern fathers is one of an engaged, enlightened generation of guys who come home from work and talk to their kids about their homework or get on the floor with their babies. It's easy to forget it was just a generation or so ago that wasn't necessarily the case as a cultural norm.
What I'm learning from the men here is that they're as WTF about beer commercials as I am. They are tired of being portrayed in the media as inept cavemen incapable of diapering a baby or ignoring a hot twentysomething.
They're trying to change the way they talk to their sons about being a man. Instead of squishing emotions, they are facing them and writing about them. They're -- along with moms, I believe -- open to recognizing just good parenting rather than good mothering or good fathering. Men and women do bring different elements to the table as we talk to our kids about puberty or heterosexual relationships, but the act of making dinner for your child or reading her a bedtime story or dropping her off at a friend's house -- no different. There's nothing gendered about most of parenting.
Having these conversations with fathers who are also writers has been really fun for me. Writers tend to be a different breed just in general, more likely to talk about their feelings with total strangers. I'm accustomed to having these breakthrough conversations with women having been a very active member of the BlogHer community for the past six years, but prior to this conference I've only had those conversations with men outside my family and close friend group with two or three male bloggers, one of whom was in Sleep Is for the Weak. It's not lost on me the same guy who was one of the first guys to talk to me frankly, honestly, as a friend, with no weirdness, about parenting, is the same guy who co-founded Dad 2.0.
It's been a great conference, so far, and I'm excited to meet more of these guys today and tonight. I'm here with BlogHer.com editor-in-chief Stacy Morrison, as well as Polly Pagenhart and Shannon Carroll from the BlogHer conference team, and we're having a great experience. Way to go, Doug and John, and especially you, Doug, old friend and dad blogger extraordinaire.
It's interesting -- David Wescott tweeted at me this:
I didn't say anything much on Twitter, but when I ran into David yesterday I said, "Well, look at Congress." And we stared at each other for a second, both sort of dismayed about that. I wasn't blaming him and he wasn't pitying me, we were both just sort of WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY is more than half the population so underrepresented in power positions in America? And WHY WHY WHY are we still acting like a penis disqualifies a man from being able to make a dentist appointment for his son?
I hope women and men as we go forward can look at parenting just as parenting and look at working just as working and recognize that all people bring something valuable to the table based on personality, not on gender. The world is changing, and I want to see it move toward true partnership between men and women instead of one-upsmanship and competition. Who's with me?